I have a confession to make. As much as I wish I could, I don’t go to the GIS every year.

Not only as a columnist here for Superintendent, but also as a golf course superintendent, I always feel a little guilty when I miss the show.

But, as we all know, these are tough economic times, and sometimes sacrifices have to be made. Several years ago I decided that, although I wanted to attend the show every year, for the sake of the bottom line, and since I live on the West Coast, I would attend only when the show comes out West.

So I hit the GIS when it’s in San Diego or Anaheim, and I’ve decided Las Vegas qualifies as well. But Orlando is the one that I’ve sacrificed. I have missed San Antonio in the past, too, although next year I’ll probably make it because I don’t want to miss two in a row (Orlando 2017, San Antonio 2018). Thankfully the show is coming to San Diego in 2019.

Now I know I’m not the only one that has made this decision. I know there are East Coast supers who only make the Orlando and San Antonio shows, and probably supers in the middle of the country who decide east or west each year. Just like it is hard for me to justify traveling from Seattle to Orlando, I’m sure folks in the upper East Coast have trouble swinging the trip to San Diego.

I know there is no good geographical solution for this dilemma. The Golf Course Superintendent’s Association of America, as well as the National Golf Course Owners Association, do the best they can by rotating the show and choosing venues and cities that have a proven track record of providing a great show. I think San Diego, Orlando (I have been to the Orlando show in the past), San Antonio, Anaheim and Las Vegas have all proved to be great locations, and of course are spread out well.

I will say that I have lobbied for expanding into three other areas of the U.S., somehow including the Northeast, the Midwest and the Northwest in the rotation (or at least one of them?). Of course, the golf championship would have to be given up if we selected these locations in February, but other than that, there are some great cities capable of holding the GIS that should be considered. Chicago or Minneapolis would be great Midwest choices. San Francisco or Seattle northwest options. And maybe Boston or Baltimore for the Northeast?

But I digress. There is no great solution for making the show easily accessible for everyone. It’s a large country, and of course, more to the point, a large world. This is, after all, as anyone who has been to the GIS in the past knows, an international event. It attracts industry professionals from all over the globe.

So, what I wanted to say here was, those of us who have made that choice to hit the show when it comes a little closer to us (hopefully at least every other year), we shouldn’t feel guilty, or be made to feel guilty, for occasionally missing it. As great as the show is, there is a bottom line that we all have to meet.

Thankfully there are alternatives when we do miss the show. For one, regional tradeshows and conferences are a great option. Also, live podcasts from the show, as well as many blogs and chatrooms. Even the ability to simply network with folks who were able to go to the GIS is beneficial.

There are also recaps of the show in publications like this one. Articles that summarize the show and the all the latest news and products that were discussed and shown at the GIS.

By all means, try and make the show every year if you can. But, if you happen to be one of those “every other year” folks, don’t sweat it. You’re not alone. And we’ll see you next year.